During my dad’s first military assignment on the island of Crete in Greece, we lived off base in a small apartment. It had no central hearing nor air conditioning. My parents had space heaters in some rooms, but they weren’t enough to keep us warm during the winter. Not that it gets super hot or cold there. The average temperature in January hovers around 52 degrees Fahrenheit with the hottest temps reaching about 79 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.
Still, I remember plenty of cold nights in our little apartment during the winter. My parents didn’t feel it was safe to leave the space heaters on all night, so we would wrap ourselves in coats, hats and gloves. Then we would crawl under our many layers of blankets. In a family of four kids, we didn’t have separate coats for separate occasions. The coat I crawled in bed with was the same coat I wore to school, to play outside, to go to church, etc.
Despite my collection, the one coat that I never had but always coveted was a red swing coat. They have such a vintage look. I remember watching reruns of “I Love Lucy” with my grandmother when I stayed with her in Brooklyn, N.Y. and saw Lucy in quite a few of these coats. I always wished for a red one to wear with party dresses for the holidays.
A few weeks ago, my wish came true. My mom and I were browsing at a thrift store in Mooresville, N.C. when I happen to see this bright red coat peeking out from among the racks. I pulled it out and noticed the pleats on the shoulder line at the back and the single large button at the front. Both of these features were characteristic of swing coats in the 1950s.
The tag inside stated that the coat was 100% wool. The price tag said it was $10. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I checked the coat for stains, rips or other misfortunes but did not find anything. This was a deal too good to pass up, so the coat came home with me.
Today, I’m wearing it with some velvet jeans I bought last year and my faux suede black sock booties. But I do have a party dress or two in my closet that would be perfect matches.
I love leopard with red and knew immediately this clutch would be a perfect match. This clutch came with a gold chain in case I want to wear it as a crossbody.
My only other accessories are pearl studs and a black beret, both classic pieces to go with a classy looking coat.
What I Wore
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Photos by Hunter I. Riddle
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